true food & curried cauliflower soup November 19, 2012

As a “food person”, it’s something I’ve dealt with off and on for years. The overeating at events and the puffy-ness the next day. The flip-flops in my stomach that seem to be stress induced. Eating – and not eating – on photoshoots when you can’t control what you’re being fed or where it comes from. This weekend, when I was at the workshop with Helene and Clare, we ate like queens. Regularly scheduled meals – with bountiful food that was healthful and delicious – were readily available to us. We were working hard and everything was so great, you couldn’t help but eat. I also drank a five gallon drum of coffee over four days, which I can’t imagine has had any adverse effects on me, right?

Now that I’ve been home, something’s changed. Something’s not been quite right. I’ve been under the weather, digestively. Not just “I ate too much” but “something is amiss” under the weather. I’ve been “self-diagnosing all 37 of my ailments on WebMD” under the weather.

I’ve often wondered if I eliminated _____ from my diet, what would I feel like? Coffee and caffeine I’ve given up…and always come back to because I need the pick-me-up. The thought of giving up dairy – cheese, mostly – breaks my heart. Bread and pasta and, well, anything related are near and dear to me. Chocolate? That’s an easy one. Can I just give that up?

I feel better today than I have all last week and, truthfully,  I’m pretty sure what I’ve been going through is a stomach bug. That having been said, I’ve been “living clean” for the past four days and I’d be silly to think that doesn’t have something to do with it. No caffeine, no soda, no alcohol, no gluten, no dairy. It’s been eye-opening as to how much of my diet is emotional and cravings driven. These past few days, I’ve been very calculated and thoughtful about what I cook. There’s been no eating out – just lots of fish, vegetables and soups. I’m going to gradually add some things back into the mix to see how I feel…and I’ll be sharing the results here. It’s a bit of a journey, really. Another level of being conscious about consumption.

When I first received a copy of this book, this recipe initially caught my eye because it’s loaded with all sorts of stuff I love – cauliflower & lots of Indian spices. Now, this recipe has taken on an extra shine as I’ve been toying with changing up how I eat. It’s completely vegan and so flavorful, you’d never know it. It’s from one of my now-favorite books of this year, Dr. Andrew Weil’s True Food. It’s full of really fantastic recipes that use sustainable, seasonal ingredient. Each recipe highlights ingredients for their restorative powers – this soup has turmeric and cauliflower in it, both of which are known for their anti-inflammatory benefits. While the recipe calls for caramelized onions as garnish (which would be delicious), I needed a bit of texture so I quickly toasted some pepitas in a dry pan – they were a nice textural elements to the soup.

Curried Cauliflower Soup – recipe originally from True Food by Dr. Andrew Weil – makes 10 cups

  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 14-oz can light coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp evaporated cane sugar (I omitted this in my version)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Salt
  • caramelized onions and chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)

– Put the cashews in a blender and blend until finely ground. Add ¾ cup water and blend for 2 minutes. Pour the cashew mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing on the solids with the back of a spoon. Discard the solids.

– In a large pot, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden. Add the cauliflower, coconut milk, strained cashew milk, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, sugar, cinnamon, and salt as needed. Add enough water to cover. Bring to a low boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes.

– Blend the soup with an immersion blender until the desired consistency is reached. If using a standing blender, allow the mixture to cool for 20 minutes. Pour the soup into the blender. Hold the lid down firmly with a clean, folded towel over it. Start on low speed and blend until the soup is smooth. Return to the pot and reheat if serving hot. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the caramelized onions and cilantro before serving.


Lakshmi Nov 19, 2012 10:11 am

Glad you are feeling better!

Ayurveda believes that a healthy mind/body owes a great deal to a healthy digestive system. I have cut back a lot on gluten and dairy in the last few months, and I think it has definitely benefited my whole system, inside out.

Some other spices that soothe the digestive system are ginger (fresh/dried), coriander, cumin, fennel seeds and ajowan. You can incorporate them into what you cook or simply steep them whole in boiling water and sip when cool.

Happy Thanksgiving, Tami.

Amber @ Au Coeur Nov 19, 2012 11:11 am

I love roasted cauliflower with curry and can only imagine how delicious it would be in soup form. Sounds like something I’ll have to had to the menu.

Katie Nov 19, 2012 11:11 am

I’m actually surprised that removing those things from your diet would help you feel better so quickly. While I don’t doubt that dropping dairy and gluten in the long run makes people feel great (I just truly can’t bear the thought of no more baguettes and brie…), when I’ve done cleanse periods before I actually feel really terrible for the first few days due to gluten withdrawal. Either way, glad you’re feeling better, and I’ll be interested to hear how continuing to adjust your diet makes you feel!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar Nov 19, 2012 11:11 am

I know what you mean…and this soup (and food like it) are a great way to eat right and feel good about it. Great recipe!

Dena Nov 20, 2012 05:11 am


Diane Nov 20, 2012 09:11 am

I’m with you. It’s hard for me to say no to a spread if food that lies before me. And my stomach reminds me, afterwards, that I should have controlled myself. I too have been making some changes and feeling better. Our juicer has been incredibly helpful and drinking juice has helped my body re-balance.
Beautiful soup. I alway love your soup recipes.

Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking Nov 20, 2012 09:11 am

I have up meat for ten years. I often think back, was it for the best? Probably not because all I ate was cheese and carbs. I guess all we can do is hope for better balance. I also could never give up cheese or caffeine, I think my body would just shut down in protest.

the Fromagette Nov 20, 2012 11:11 am

I have asked myself all the same questions and still am left without a definitive answer, but I have a new tool in my toolbox! We are moving home to San Diego in a few weeks and our new house is 1/4 mile from a True Food Kitchen. I will seriously eat there almost daily, and it’s a relief to go somewhere where you can order anything on the menu and leave feeling great ! I wish there were more options like that …

Ben Frank Nov 20, 2012 12:11 pm

This sounds (and looks) amazing. cant wait to try it.

JulieD Nov 21, 2012 02:11 pm

Love this, Tami! It looks gorgeous and sounds amazing!

Magda Nov 22, 2012 08:11 am

I have changed my diet a lot since the beginning of this year, without omitting dairy or gluten but just being aware of what I fuel my body with, and I’ve been feeling like a different person. Healthier, with more energy and invigorated in general.
What you’re doing is great. It’s good to find out what your body really needs and what it reacts bad to. Good luck with the rest of your journey!

I love all kinds of soups, but cauliflower is among my favorites, especially when it is paired with spices. I will be trying out this very very soon.

Tiffany @ Savor Home Dec 3, 2012 08:12 pm

I hope you are feeling much better by now! I attended Helene’s workshop the week before you arrived and I’m still thinking of all of the wonderful food we ate! Your photos are absolutely gorgeous and I will certainly have to try that soup!

Sarah Dec 11, 2012 09:12 am

Just read the article on Weil’s True Food Kitchen in Whole Living and flagged the recipes to try. Adding this to the list!

Emily Dec 16, 2012 10:12 am

Michael from Indian Ridge had the most beautiful fresh turmeric at Peachtree Farmers Market yesterday, I bought it thinking about the anti-inflamatory properties, now, thanks to you, I know just what to do with it!

Tiana Kai Dec 18, 2012 04:12 am

I am saving this in my recipe box!!! Yum! thanks again for a smashing recipe!

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E Tarif Aug 30, 2013 10:08 am

I have never tried to cut back on gluten or dairy but I drink less coffee and tea to reduce caffeine intake. This soup is a little more spicy for me but I will try it. It looks delicious.